Welcome. Are you pregnant? Or are you figuring out your way through new parenthood? This is the blog for you! As a mother to a 3 year old boy and 1 year old boy/girl twins, I've been there, done that. From breastfeeding to potty training. From natural labor to c-section. And from swaddling to car seats. I have advice and I'm not afraid to share it! If you have a question, just ask me!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Postpartum Depression - My Story

I didn't have the typical PPD.  It started when my twins were 10 months old and lasted for about 6 weeks.  I will have to say it's the worst I've ever felt emotionally in my life.  During this time I just didn't care.  I had no desire to get out of bed in the morning.  I suffered insomnia.  I was exhausted, yet would still be up at 3 in the morning.  A few nights I never fell asleep.  It was torture.  I wasn't necessarily depressed (I think society uses that term too loosely), but I was in complete and utter DESPAIR.

I cried much of the day.  My husband didn't know what to do with me.  I didn't know what to do with me.  I was a walking zombie, just doing what I had to do for my kids, and not much more.

When I was finally at the point of seeking medical help, things started getting better, thanks to my husband (more on this later.)

I was actually dumb-founded as to "why now?" I had been going 9 months strong, feeling pretty good at how I was handling a 3 year old and the twins.  For a while my husband was the only person who I confided in, but after a few weeks, I started posting to my mommy board about my troubles.  Turned out a few other friends on the site were also having some PPD/PP Blues issues.  Proof to the point that "you're not alone."  One friend I think hit the nail on the head in response to the "why now?" question.  Here is what I posted one day,
I thought things were better for me.  They were good Sunday and partly Monday.  But not so much the last 2 days.  I've been crying on/off all day.  I cannot sleep, yet I'm a walking zombie.  I just want a night's rest, but I can't sleep because I'm so upset!  I told my husband this morning that I resent the babies.  Then he had this awful look on his face, and I had to reassure him I loved them, and would never do anything to them...I just resent them.  Nice way to feel about your children.  I feel like they've taken away all the fun I used to have w/ DS1.  It's funny how I could be great for 9 months.  I was handling 3 beautifully...
My friends response was this
You know, I think sometimes moms are really good at "just getting through it"-gritting our teeth until "the worst" is over-the fragmented sleep, the disruption of a comfortable routine. I think when you realize that things aren't going to get THAT much easier for longer than you thought is when you start to break down a little. I can see where you could go nine months and just be finally worn out by everything and have nothing left in the tank. You are breastfeeding twins, not to mention that you have an active  three-year-old who doesn't go to preschool, so he is with you all the time too.
My friend really nailed it.  When our twins came, my husband and I must have said, "Things will get better." a hundred times a day.  And I think I did start to realize that day ain't comin' anytime soon.  I started missing my freedom, my time with my son, my time for me.  And then suddenly everything came crashing down around me. 

So, how did I get out of it.  The first way was talking about my feelings openly with people I was comfortable.  My semi-private online mom's group was perfect for me to share openly what was going on with me.  And since several other moms were going thru similar feelings, that alone made me feel a little better.  The second way was with the help of my husband.  A lot to do with my PPD was sleep deprivation.  The south had been having a lot of serious tornado warnings in the late evenings/early mornings, and when that happens I can't sleep.  Well, string a few nights of warnings, with caring for 3 small children, and you have disaster!  My insomnia snowballed.  Once I fell asleep, I was good, but darn, I'd fall asleep at 3 or 4am, if I fell asleep at all, and just have to wake up at 6:30 to take care of the kids.  I told my husband, "if I could only sleep in."  He begged me to pump.  (Feeding 2 babies is hard enough, let alone creating extra milk!)  I had gotten enough milk to cover 2 feedings for the 2 babies for that Sunday.  I got my ear plugs and sleep mask ready, and I sleep 8+ solid hours.  I felt great.  And thankfully that snowball started melting.  Things continued to get better and better.

Please share your thoughts!
It's late and I haven't proof-read this.  I'm gonna post anyways.  :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Late Pre-Term Babies? What's that?

It seems like I'm always hearing about friends or friends of friends who are getting induced or having scheduled c-sections before their due dates.  There are obviously good reasons to do this. The fact that it is becoming more and more common seems concerning.

First let me say a "due-date" is not when you are DUE.  It's a guess as to when your baby might arrive.  It's not an exact date, and people look at that date as if your belly is going to explode if the baby is not out by then.  A due date is 40 weeks gestation.  The problem with this is that 40 weeks is NOT the average gestation of women who go into labor naturally!!!  The average gestation of a healthy first-time mother is 41 WEEKS, 1 DAY.  So if inducing 1 week early, you could be inducing 2-3 weeks early in reality (your baby may have wanted to wait until 42 weeks!)

Many mothers are anxious to see their babies, and when a doctor suggests delivering early, they say "Yes!"  Unfortunately, they don't take the time to research if that is a good idea or not.  Babies even born a week early can have symptoms of a "Late Preterm" baby.

Photo by Natalia Wilson ~ Copyright: February 25, 2010.

Feeding:  Babies may be more slow to eat.  If breastfeeding is important to you it may be good to discuss the necessity of an early delivery.

Breathing:  Babies can need help breathing.  Especially if you are carrying a white boy, this can be an issue to consider.  It's called "Wimpy White Boy Syndrome."  When we toured our NICU before our boy/girl twins were born, we asked the NICU nurse about this.  She said it is a very real occurrence.  For some reason, male Caucasian babies' lungs seem to develop later.  My doctor suggested a scheduled c-section for my twins at 37 weeks.  I asked for another week, since I knew we had a boy in there.  He asked that I come in for two visits that last week instead of 1.  He wanted me to have non-stress test AND a BPP that last week.  I was OK with that.  That week proved to be very important.  My baby boy was having trouble breathing, and my husband said the nurses were having a discussion as to whether he should go to the NICU.  Luckily he figured it out and didn't have to go, and we were able to get him breastfeeding right away!

Temperature:  Like other preterm babies, late preterms can have trouble regulating their body temperature.

In the last weeks of gestation, babies put on about 1/2 pound each week.  That is a lot when you're talking about baby weight!  Late preterm babies may also be more likely to get jaundice and infections.

For more information:
Awhonn Late Preterm Infant Initiative - What Parents of Late Preterm (Near-Term) Infants Need to Know.
About:  Late Pre-term Babies
March of Dimes - Premature birth
When Research is Flawed:  Management of Post-Term Pregnancy
Westside Doula - Due Date

You have chosen your doctor because you feel comfortable making decisions WITH him or her.  If that is not true, then switch doctors!  You need to do your own research, so you are able to have a discussion about these things with your doctor.  Let's face it...doctors are human.  I'm sure they'd like to have your baby come M-F between the hours of 9-5 if possible.  Maybe not all of them...but some.

I wanted a natural birth with my kids.  My first child I was uninformed, was not prepared and did not know my options.  After 30 hours of natural labor, I went w/ what my doctor and hospital nurses were telling me was best.  It was not, but everything turned out OK.  With my twins, I was OVER prepared, and knew all my options.  Unfortunately, my twins were both breech.  I did my research and made decisions WITH my new doctor that made both of us comfortable with our plan for the end goal:  healthy babies.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Boppy Pillow v. My Brest Friend Pillow

Why does everyone get and/or register for the Boppy pillow?  I have to say, I found it not very helpful when it came to nursing.  It did come in handy taking photos of my babies.  (See my photography post.)  I would put the blanket over the Boppy sometimes to put the baby on.  It also helped provide a little support when my son was learning to sit up.  What I hated about my Boppy was while nursing my child, there was nothing to keep it in place.  The pillow would start to inch away from me, and my baby would fall down in between me and the pillow.  I also found it too soft.

When it comes to nursing, the My Brest Friend pillow is great.  It straps around you,  is not too smooshy, and stays in place. It also has pockets for things like the phone, a pad of paper, a snack, or whatever you find useful.  I like that you can strap it on and stand up without it falling off.  It also offers padding around your lower back, which the Boppy does not.  I used mine with my oldest every day until we stopped nursing at age 2.  And now I use it every day with my twins.  When I tandem nursed my twins, I actually used the My Breast Friend Twins pillow.  I originally had the EZ2Nurse Twins Pillow, but again, it didn't stay put, and didn't offer great back support.  I didn't realize that My Brest Friend had a twins pillow (I had heard the EZ one was the only one out there.)  When I heard that they did, I ordered it w/o hesitation. and it too is awesome!!!

If I was registering for baby items, I would skip the Boppy, and make sure My Brest Friend was on my list!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New baby and your marriage

No one ever talks about how a new baby can affect a marriage.  Well, I'm telling you a new baby can put A LOT of stress on one.  I have a wonderful husband, whom I love very much.  We have been together for several years before we had our first child.  I was not expecting how angry I could get at him over our child.  And I'm sure he was just as angry at me.  What causes all this?  LACK OF SLEEP!  We just aren't in control of our emotions when we do not get those 7-10 hours of sleep our bodies need on a daily basis.

When our twins arrived I wanted to avoid all that anger.  We didn't need to add MORE stress to what we had in store for us.  I had been recommended a book titled "Babyproofing your Marriage."  It was a great read.  I will say, it is slightly female biased, as it's written by all women, but they do have plenty for the men too.  It really opened my eyes up to how my husband viewed things.  My husband read it too (I made him.)  And I immediately saw a difference in how we were acting together.  We were no longer "keeping score."  I was thanking him for emptying the dishwasher, instead of thinking, "He should, I've been nursing 2 babies all damn day AND recovering from a c-section."  The book also discusses sex after baby.  We had way more sex the first year after the babies, compared with the first year of my oldest.  I think this book has a lot to do with that.  And yes, it even talks about how to deal with grandparents. 

I have a friend whose husband didn't want a 3rd child, because he didn't like the person she became with an infant!  How funny is that?  We mommies can get feisty on little to no sleep!  But Daddy's can do a little to help Mommy get a little more sleep, and maybe Daddy can get a little more sex! 

How did a new baby affect your marriage?  Any tips for new moms?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Expecting a baby? DEAL ALERT!

The Woombie.  I've not used them, but I've heard they are a great alternative option to the Miracle Blanket.  They do look pretty cool.  You do have to buy sizes though, which is why I like the Miracle Blanket - One Size.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Flying with an infant!

It makes everyone nervous!  Flying with an infant.  I will start by saying flying with an infant will be much easier than you probably expect.  The key is to stay calm, leave yourself plenty of time, and to be prepared.

Stay Calm:  I truly believe that babies can sense when their parents are stressed.  They don't like it!  So before you embark on your journey, say out loud that this will probably not be fun, but you will roll with the punches.  My husband can get irritated by small things very easily.  Our first time flying w/ our new baby, as soon as he parked the car, I looked at him and said, "Know this is not going to be fun, but try to stay calm, we'll get there."  Sometimes hearing it, can help the stress a little.

     The first time I flew alone w/ my 2.5 month old, there were all sorts of problems.  Our connecting flight was hours late, and then our gate got changed last minute, and everyone had to take a shuttle to a different terminal.  I luckily had my baby in a baby carrier (I was using the Moby Wrap at the time), and the carry-ons went in the stroller, so moving was fairly simple.  Another mom, I felt bad for her, was trying to push a baby in a stroller while pulling luggage too.  Why someone wouldn't offer to help, is beyond me!?

Leave Plenty of Time:  This sort of goes without saying, but make sure you leave yourself plenty of time getting ready to leave the house, so you can get to the airport w/ plenty of time to park the car, check in, etc.

Be Prepared:  If your ready to deal with situations, it will help your baby stay happy and you less stressed.  A week or so before flying figure out your baby's favorite SMALL toys.  Pick a few and take them away at least a week before your flight.  That way, on the plane the toys will be new and lots of fun to play with.  Most babies love playing with water bottles.  Just BE AWARE OF THE COVER!!!!  Either take the cover away, or make sure it's on REALLY tight.  Covers can be a choking hazard!!!
     Pack a travel size baby cornstarch (or just put some in a baggy).  We were stuck on the runway once for an hour, and they were not running the A/C.  It was HOT.  I calmly stripped DS down and used the cornstarch to keep him comfortable.  Crisis averted!
     Put your baby in a cloth diaper cover and pack an extra.  You want to put it on OVER the disposable diaper.  Do this especially if your baby is exclusively breastfed!  You don't need to deal with a diaper that has leaked poop and gotten all over baby's clothes, or possibly worse.  A diaper cover will be sure to keep it all contained.  I recommend a diaper cover that has leg gussets.  Thirsties brand is great.  They're about $10/each.  Or if you know a cloth diapering mom, ask if you can borrow one or two.  Also, you can always resell them on diaperswappers.com when you're done.  Changing a poopy diaper on the plane is tough, so if you are landing soon, with a diaper cover you can just wait to change it  There were two times flying I was very glad I had a cover on.  Along this line, pack an extra 3 or 4 onesies, and plenty of diapers.
What to do with the car seat?  Carry it on with you!  Even if you are not paying for an extra seat (which I never did.)  If there isn't a spare seat, then you can check it at the gate.  If there IS a spare seat, then GREAT...use it.  When you get on the plane, ask the attendant for a pillow.  That way if you have to hold your baby the whole time, you have a little something to put under your arm if you need it.

Know that babies will most likely sleep on the plane.  Keep them up in the airport if you can, then once those jets start, you baby will probably sleep.  Concerned about air pressure?  If your baby is awake, nurse during take off and landings.  My son never seemed to have a pressure issue.  If your baby doesn't sleep, you have those "new" toys you pack to keep him/her happily entertained!

When I flew alone with my baby, I used the combination stroller.  I put the car seat in the stroller, and put 1 carry on in the car seat, and one under the stroller.  I wore my baby in my Moby Wrap, so I could have my hands completely free.  But know that you may have to take your baby out going through security.  One person made me take him out, but others let me keep him in.  You just have to go with the punches.

Control what you can.  Let go what you can't.

Happy flying!  Please share any tips that you have also!

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Breast or Two?

It's a common question of new breastfeeding mothers.  Should you feed a baby from both breasts at a feeding, or just one?  I had the same question.  This is what worked for me with my first child:

In the beginning, I nursed from both breasts, something like 15-20 minutes on each side, depending on how hungry he seemed.  (I burped between breasts.) I was so engorged, both of my breasts needed the relief.  As my son got a week or two older, I noticed that he started to have some green poops.  My research showed that it probably wasn't a concern, but could be a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance?  Well what the heck is that?  I learned that the milk at the beginning of a feed is more watery, allowing it to come out faster to satisfy the baby when (s)he is super hungry.  Toward the end of the feeding, the milk gets fattier and richer.  This is the milk that can really help the baby gain weight.  If you feed from both breasts, the baby will mostly be getting foremilk, and never get to the rich hindmilk.  So, I switched to feeding from only one breast.  The green poops were gone immediately.  Wow!  Our bodies are amazing, aye?  If you are pumping, you can see the difference between foremilk and hindmilk.

I personally like feeding from one breast better anyway, and it is what most professionals recommend now.  Who wants to unlatch a hungry baby and make him cry, just to switch breasts?  Just let the little one eat.  That's my opinion.

One more thing:  when feeding from one breast:  If that breast gets completely "deflated," and after say 25/30 minutes your baby still seems hungry, go ahead and offer the other side.  The next feeding you would then start on that breast (the second breast from the previous feeding.)